Can random bladder biopsies be eliminated after bacillus Calmette-Guérin therapy against carcinoma in situ?

Bladder Cancer

Int Urol Nephrol. 2020 Oct 6. doi: 10.1007/s11255-020-02667-9. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: Intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is the standard of care for bladder carcinoma in situ (CIS). The response to BCG therapy against CIS is generally assessed by random bladder biopsy (RBB). In this study, we examined the necessity of routine RBB after BCG therapy.

METHODS: We retrospectively identified 102 patients who were initially diagnosed with CIS with or without papillary tumor and received subsequent 6-8-week BCG therapy. Thereafter, all patients underwent voiding cytology analysis, cystoscopy, and RBB to evaluate the effects of BCG therapy. We evaluated the association between clinical parameters (voiding cytology and cystoscopy findings) and the final pathological results by RBB specimens.

RESULTS: According to the pathological results of RBB, 30 (29%) patients had BCG-unresponsive disease (remaining urothelial carcinoma was confirmed pathologically) and 20 were diagnosed with CIS. Positive/suspicious voiding cytology and positive cystoscopy findings were well observed in patients who had BCG-unresponsive disease compared with their counterparts (p = 0.116, and p < 0.001, respectively). The sensitivity (Sen.), specificity (Spe.), positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) of voiding cytology were 50%, 68%, 39%, and 77%, respectively. The values for cystoscopy findings were as follows: Sen.: 87%, Spe.: 57%, PPV: 46%, and NPV: 91%. The values for their combination (having either of them) were as follows: Sen.: 100%, Spe.: 44%, PPV: 43%, and NPV: 100%.

CONCLUSION: RBB after BCG therapy for patients with negative voiding cytology and negative cystoscopy may be omitted because their risk of BCG-unresponsive disease is significantly low (NPV: 100%).